Recent Articles By John Martellaro [RSS]

PCalc, a Terrific Calculator App for iOS, is Apple's App of the Day

· · Cool Stuff Found

The best iOS calculator I’ve ever used is PCalc from James Thomson (TLA Systems).. By best, I don’t mean just good looks. I mean computational expertise imbued in an app that can be trusted to always get the answer right based on numerical analysis principles. PCalc is also a lot of fun, has a boatload of options in the settings, and even has an RPN mode for those who grew up with RPN on Hewlett Packard calculators.  It’s Apple’s App Of The day, so head on over and get the best designed calculator money can buy. It also has watchOS support.

PCalc, a Terrific Calculator App for iOS, is Apple’s App of the Day

TMO Background Mode Encore Interview with Tidbits Managing Editor Josh Centers

· · Background Mode Podcast

Josh Centers

Josh Centers is the Managing Editor of Tidbits.com and has published several Take Control Books. His latest book is “Take Control of Apple Home Automation.” And so, I invited him to make a return appearance on Background Mode to chat about that very subject. The book is a complete guide and starts from the very beginning of the design and wiring process and the use of various hubs. Josh clearly explained how to use Apple’s HomeKit home automation platform to control smart devices in the home, such as lights, outlets, thermostats, and more. And he’s very frank about various myths surrounding home automation. We also chatted about beginner security concerns as well as the ability to maintain control and terminate any service if necessary. If you have an interest in home automation, this show is must listening.

TMO Background Mode Interview with Take Control Books Publisher Joe Kissell

· · Background Mode Podcast

Joe Kissell on Background Mode.

Joe Kissell is a writer and author with over 60 technical books to his credit. He’s a contributing editor with Tidbits, and recently became the owner and publisher of the Take Control series of eBooks. Early in his career, Joe had a strong interest in language and holds a Master’s degree in Linguistics. Along the way, however, he also got very technical with computers, and that landed him a job as a product manager with Nisus. Subsequently, Joe was a software developer for Kensington. In 2017, he accepted an offer from Adam Engst to acquire Take Control Books. Joe and his wife run that business—currently using a brand new iMac Pro. When not editing, Joe pursues T’ai Chi, cooking, walking and travel. Joe tells his career story, chock full of technical serendipity, with awesome charm.

Apple’s Annoying OS Antics

· · Link

Setting up macOS

macOS is brilliant. It’s the best GUI and development environment ever put on top of a UNIX OS. So why does Apple engage in so many silly things that annoy (or imperil) users? Particle Debris page 2 looks at three.

TMO Background Mode Interview with VP of Marketing for Mayfield Robotics Chris Matthews

· · Background Mode Podcast

Chris Matthews on Background Mode.

Chris Matthews is the VP of Marketing for Mayfield Robotics. They make the companion robot called Kuri that was recently shown to our Jeff Gamet at CES 2018. Having been a very interested observer of emerging robot technology, I invited Chris to be on the show. We talked about how Mayfield Robotics was formed, the founders, how the company got its name, the human and engineering design principles behind Kuri, what mistakes were avoided, how Kuri protects family privacy and security, the nuances of Kuri’s physical design, how Kuri communicates with the family, its processing power, the price and the shipping status. Kuri is probably going to be my first family robot, so tune-in as Chris explains how Kuri works in fascinating detail. You may want one too.

TMO Background Mode Interview with Axios Energy & Climate Reporter Amy Harder

· · Background Mode Podcast

Amy Harder on Background Mode.

Amy Harder covers energy and climate change for Axios. She writes a weekly column called the Harder Line that reports on trends, has exclusive scoops and analyzes the news driving the debate about energy and climate. Her coverage includes congressional legislation, regulations, lobbying, and international policy actions affecting the United States. Amy holds a B.A. in Journalism with honors. In our interview, I asked Amy about some of the most important issues of her coverage: what is “clean coal,” how does global warming affect climate, do all conservatives deny global warming, what is a good website for scientific information, what is her workday like, and what could scientists do to better to communicate with the public? Come meet and listen to the reporter who has a terrific grasp of these important topics.